The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA), which operates the Owen Roberts International Airport (IATA: GCM) and the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CYB), has announced that construction works on the new blast deflector at the Owen Roberts Airport has begun as part of the next phase of continued improvements in operations and safety standards at the Airports.
Due to the extension of the runway, the new take-off aircraft positioning is now much closer to the Old Crewe Road fence line. Therefore, a blast deflector was designed to mitigate air turbulence at ground level by deflecting the air from departing aircraft upwards, thereby protecting passing pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles using the road adjacent to the fence line.
The blast deflector is made of galvanised steel panels that are powder coated and painted orange and white for easy identification. The panels are mounted on a lightweight steel frame and fastened to a monolithic concrete foundation to fix it in place. The blast deflector will extend from the south side of the extended runway and continue around the perimeter fence line. The assembly and installation of the blast deflector is scheduled for completion by the end of August 2020.
Additionally, as part of GCM’s Airfield Upgrade Project, the new runway and runway extension will be “grooved” to enhance water drainage during heavy rainstorms and increase the friction coefficient and associated safety factor for aircraft landings and departures during extreme wet weather.
The new runway strengthening with additional layers of asphalt has increased the camber of the runway to a 2% slope to aid water runoff, and the grooves will act as a channel for water to shed more efficiently and decrease the ability to create water pooling on the runway.
The airport said the grooving works are being performed at night to avoid disrupting aircraft movements and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.
Once grooving is completed, runway paint markings will be added and enhanced with reflective glass beads to increase runway visibility in low light / poor weather. That process is expected be complete by mid-September 2020.